Devon ‘Devo’ White had a memorable visit here and he will be back to support local Little League.
The three-time World Series winner is expected to stage a competition on Grand Cayman this summer. The matches will feature teams from the US and Jamaica coming down to face local opposition at George Town’s Field of Drams facility.
Cayman Islands Little League President Paul Gallagher gave some details about the event.
“We’re trying to do a local tournament with Devon White in June,” Gallagher said. “We’re waiting for more details from the Jamaican and US teams that are invited. We invited 10 teams through Devo as a follow-up for the (Spring 2012 CILL White Sox) clinic.
“We originally invited them to come this month after Devo went back to the States. Whether it occurs in June or the Fall we will know soon. It is for the 11-12 age group and is in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. We are excited about the possibility of bringing people to the Island to play ball.”
White, 49, is a minor league base-running instructor with Major League Baseball’s Chicago White Sox. He is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and won the World Series three times during his career with the Toronto Blue Jays (1992 and 1993) and Florida Marlins (1997). He played for four other teams starting from 1985 in the California Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers, retiring in 2002. He also won seven Gold Glove awards (1988, 1989, 1991-1995) as an elite fielder and was named an all-star three times (1989, 1993 and 1998).
He was here in January along with three coaches from the BullSox Training Academy, the youth development side of the White Sox, in hitting/defence instructor James Nash (who played professionally in Europe), pitching instructor/scout Larry Owens and hitting/fielding instructor Sam Zagorac (who came last November with pitching guru Marty Kobernus). Together they taught hundreds of youngsters aged 5-18, such as 16-year-old teenagers Alex Pascal and Mark Chisholm, at the Field of Dreams facility in George Town.
News of White’s tournament comes as Cayman has made steps to compete with its Caribbean neighbours, most notably sending teams the last two years to take part in the Little League World Series regional qualifiers. Gallagher states there are no plans to compete in any 2012 qualifiers.
“There will be no World Series travel teams this year. While there are no official teams travelling this year for the Little League tournament, we would encourage parents and players to self-organize and play ball elsewhere; perhaps with the White Sox organization in Chicago (where Cayman Airways flies).”
January’s White Sox camp marked the sixth year of the partnership between the training academy and local Little League. Currently in its 23rd season, Cayman’s Little League offers free competition to residents in various age groups.
Gallagher states everything is going well in his mind.
“We’re in the second half of the season. We will enjoy more competitive games as the skill set has increased. The end of year wrap-up will be in late May and is slated to be a full day with games, awards and recognition for the kids.
“There are no White Sox clinics planned per say but there will be an increased focus on playing games at a high level at the end of the year. If there is interest we’ll look at another Fall League.
“We need more people involved to coach, assist, learn the game, be a team mum or dad or even work the concession stand. Latoya McField is a wonderful asset to the programme and would welcome extra sets of hands here at the field.
“Financially, it’s always a challenge, but we are again thankful to the community for sponsoring the league. Time, effort and finances are always in demand in any volunteer programme and we’re proud to have an adult co-ed softball league, women’s softball and men’s fast pitch league to chip in, play, stay fit and be a good example to the kids. We’re always playing at the Field of Dreams.”